Google strikes a Twitter search deal, too

Mere hours after a deal with Microsoft was announced to index real-time 'tweets' in Bing, Google posted on its blog that it has reached an agreement with Twitter, too.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Caroline McCarthy
Tom Krazit
2 min read

Updated 4:30 p.m. PDT with additional details from Google.

It was indeed a nonexclusive deal: Google is going to be indexing real-time Twitter messages in search results, in a deal announced just hours after Microsoft debuted integration of "tweets" into its own search engine, Bing.

A post on the official Google blog by Vice President of Search Marissa Mayer explained it: "We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months," the post read. "That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you'll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information."

Google has "reached an agreement," but the search results have not gone live like Microsoft's have on Bing. Reports started to surface earlier this month that Twitter was in separate talks with both Google and Microsoft--which also has a deal with Facebook that will be launching down the road.

Google plans to turn on the service "soon," said Johnna Wright, product manager for Google Search, declining to provide further details. The company has been working on this "complicated" problem for some time, she said; Mayer said earlier this year that microblogging search was a priority for Google in 2009.

It's just way too difficult to manually crawl Twitter for tweets, said Jack Menzel, group product manager for Google Search. Google would have to bombard Twitter's servers constantly via its public API, and the result wouldn't be pretty for anyone. So, instead Google and Twitter have cut a deal where Google is essentially licensing a data feed from Twitter to get that information in search results.

How will it be presented? Google isn't ready to talk about that yet in detail, but Wright said tweets would be presented within regular search results. "Relevancy is paramount," Menzel said, but it's also tricky: sometimes you might want the result from the guy with only 30 followers who knows what's happening on a given street corner, sometimes you might want the industry expert's quick take on a product announcement.

So will Facebook strike a Google deal, too? Onstage at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that Facebook has "nothing to announce" regarding rumors of a search deal with Google.

Google wants to work with lots of different companies that are providing this type of information, Menzel said, although he declined to comment on any specific company. Following Google's announcement regarding Twitter, it announced a Google Labs product called Social Search for organizing streams of status updates and news feeds.